Tips For Making a Good First Impression

Alexa Weeks | 24.10.18 | | Comments

You’ve been texting a romantic interest for a few weeks, and now it’s finally time to meet in person. Whether you’re an experienced dater or new to the scene, meeting someone for the first time is always nerve-wracking. You’ll probably engage in your go-to nervous habit and ponder questions like “What if he or she doesn’t like me?”  or “What if I don’t like him/her?” But you really do want to make a good first impression.

When you meet someone virtually behind a keyboard, life is easy. You have time to carefully form your responses, and you don’t have to worry about awkward situations. While sticking to the internet is much more comfortable, meeting in person is the first step to pursuing a relationship. For some people, social interaction comes naturally, while for others it takes careful preparation.

It’s normal to be a little skeptical and apprehensive during the first date. When the second or third date comes around, you can lower your guard and let more of your true personality shine through. Even if you think you’ve heard all there is to know about going on a first date, there are a handful of tips to make your date an ultimate success. If you follow these tips to a T, you’ll be sure to start your new relationship on a high note.

Before going on the date

There’s a lot that goes into planning and setting up the first date, but try to stay casual about it. Let’s say you started chatting with someone online and want to take things to the next level. The best word of advice is to ask the person out as soon as possible. You don’t know who else they are talking to; remember, the online dating community is very saturated and has a short attention span. Besides, endless texting will just have you delaying things. It’s always a good idea to give your date a few days of notice, but don’t plan a time too far into the future that it falls through.

Choose the place

For most, picking where to go and what to do is the hardest part of planning the first date. You might have found the perfect guy or girl and want nothing more than to impress them so that they agree to a second date.

The reality is, the first date should be low-key. Stay far away from activity dates such as seeing a movie, bowling, or ice skating. Sure, these all sound fun, but your date won’t get the chance to talk to you enough to form an impression. The best first impressions happen in relaxed settings without too much noise, such as coffee shops, parks, or even ice cream parlors. If you have the first date at a rowdy bar or a packed movie theatre, your romantic interest won’t leave with much of an impression of you at all.

Dress to impress

Whether you like it or not, your physical appearance does play a role in the impression you give. Depending on where the first date is, your outfit may vary from a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to a dress (or dress shirt and slacks for men). Since it’s your first time meeting, it’s a good idea to stay a little conservative and not flaunt any eccentric outfits. Conservative doesn’t mean ugly, and there are still many outfits you can wear to make a great first impression. For women, avoid caked-on makeup to the point where it becomes a distraction. For men, dress respectfully and be very conservative about aftershave, as some people may be overwhelmed by strong smells. Last but not least, wear something you feel comfortable in. With the nerves and butterflies that come with a first date, the last thing you want is to get stuck in an uncomfortable outfit.

Review your old conversations

You’re not expected to know much about the person you’re going on a dating with, and that’s totally fine. If you’ve had some conversations over text, take the time to review them and make note of any conversation points. Showing that you remember things about someone demonstrates that you have a genuine interest in them. In addition, this gives you the opportunity to find out more about your date and shift the topic from yourself.

During the date

The day has finally arrived, and it’s time to embark on your first date. Even though you have a thousand things storming your brain at once, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment you’ve been waiting for. After following just a few of these simple tips, you’ll make a killer first impression and walk away with a second date already planned.

Watch your body language

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: eye contact is key. Good eye contact shows you are paying attention, and that you are interested in what your date has to say. Avoiding eye contact is paired with nervousness and disinterest. According to psychology experts, eye contact is considered the strongest form of nonverbal communication.

In addition to strong eye contact, there are a few other body language techniques that give off subtle hints of interest. When you start to mirror the gestures and posture of your date (even unknowingly), this shows that you are into your date. If you notice your date is unconsciously mimicking you, there’s a good chance he or she is interested also. To express genuine interest in what your date is saying, you can lean in every once in a while. This simple technique adds an affectionate touch and shows you truly care about what they have to say.

Don’t say too much

Keeping up a small guard doesn’t mean you’re withholding, it just means you’re saving the juicier stuff for later. While your date should learn more about you on a higher level, the first date isn’t the time to talk about your deeply personal issues or challenges. If you vent about your family drama or work issues, your date may leave with the impression that you need a therapist instead of a relationship.

The same rules about not saying too touch go for over-talking. Over-talking is a nervous habit that many people partake in, unwittingly putting more of the attention on themselves. Remember, should there be a second date, you’ll have more time to share more about yourself. Show interest in your date, and you’ll naturally find things to talk about together.

Have fun

Put your nerves behind you and try to have fun on your first date. If you’re having fun, not making this clear to your date will give off the impression that you’re not interested. How do you show that you’re having fun? Smile, laugh, make mild jokes, and be sure to suggest another date at the end.

Dating is supposed to be enjoyable, so don’t confuse it with a job interview or a board meeting. According to research, having fun will make you more attractive to your date and in turn, your date will have more fun as well. If you find your first meeting location is too dull, suggest a short activity afterward to ramp up the excitement and recover from the dud.

After the date is over

Just like the initial first greeting, the ending of the date has a big impact on the first impression. If you want to kick start a relationship, then you’ll have to do a lot more than say goodbye. The second date should be set in stone before you part ways. After the date, you might have an urge to text your newfound crush, but keep it short and sweet.

Suggest another date

Setting up the next date before the first one is over not only shows you’re interested but also makes sure the two of you are on the same level. You don’t have to force the subject, either. Listen for subtle cues and then jump in when the moment is right. For example, if your date expresses her love for peppermint hot chocolate, you could casually say, “Why don’t we hit up a coffee shop next time?” This will save you from the awkward “So will I see you again?” line at the end of the date.

Follow up like you mean it

It never hurts to send a cute or sweet text message after the first date. A simple text will show that you’re interested and appreciative of your date’s time. Something simple like, “Hey, I had a lot of fun tonight, look forward to seeing you again” is sufficient. You should send this text within the 24 hours after the date. Try not to wait too long to do it.

Remember, both women and men hate to get swarmed by constant texts after the first date. Non-stop texting after a date will give the impression that you’re clingy or pushy. Staying to-the-point is vital. On the other hand, you don’t want to leave your date waiting too long to hear from you, confused and unsure about where you things stand.

Take a deep breath and enjoy yourself!

The key to making a good first impression and landing a second date is to prepare. Dress to impress, think of some conversation starters, and most importantly, have fun. Don’t spend so much prep time to the point where you’re uptight and can’t let loose. This is your opportunity to show your date the real you and a chance for them to get to know you better.

Online dating apps can be daunting, and it’s totally normal to feel nervous on the first date. Remember that your date is going through the same emotions, so you’re both in the same boat. Relax, breathe, and go with the flow. You might miss out on a real keeper if you let your nerves about your first impression take over.

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Alexa Weeks
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Alexa is a writer, traveler, and self-proclaimed online dating expert from Seattle. From making mistakes, to falling in love, she’s experienced it all. Alexa is here to give you all the tips, insight, and advice you'll ever need in the world of dating and romance.

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